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Paths

2012
  1. Bleu polar
  2. The square is porcelain
  3. Amber balanced
  4. Intestinal flora
  5. Eye's closed (for Rube)
  6. Stalled boson

First surprise: Olan Mill is not a person, but a band formed by Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko. Second surprise: Paths is not an studio album, but a compilation of pieces played live during a series of concerts Olan Mill offered in Bristol and Reading in 2010. Playing acoustic instruments (violin, piano, guitar and pipe organ) and processing them, they have created emotionally deep compositions.

The tone is set in the meditative 'Bleu polar', a relaxing theme for strings in multiple layers. 'The square is porcelain' is a delight for piano and strings, with an intimate and nostalgic melody, in the line of Late winter tales by Halo.

In 'Amber balanced' the pair walk the paths of ambient, treating the strings electronically to give them a somber nature, building a wall of sound which doesn't give up to dissonance. Similar in structure and tone is 'Stalled Boson'. It is not difficult to imagine the magical atmosphere that might have been created during the live performance of these themes. And if it is difficult to find true romanticism in music these days, then 'Eyes closed (for Rube)' is an unusual piece: Svitlana's violin renders a minimalistic melody that invites to close the eyes and dream of caresses and distant smiles.

But romances are not perfect, and the one offered in Paths is, unfortunately, brief.

This second work by Smalley and Samoylenko represents a growth, a greater development in Olan Mill's sound and style in comparison to their previous effort, Pine. Listeners can go in depth into Paths, getting fully into the structure and the compositions, discovering new hidden corners in each listening and sink slowly in a placid sea of music.